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Capturing Candid Moments with Your Kids: Preserving the Magic of Childhood

In this beautifully chaotic journey of parenthood, it’s often the unplanned moments with our children that become our most treasured memories. These reminders of everyday life, with all its laughter and tears, hold the essence of childhood and the connection between us and our little ones. Capturing these moments, however, requires a willingness to embrace the imperfect beauty of the present.

The upside of our digital age is the freedom it affords us to snap away, allowing us to capture true expressions of our little ones. But, the secret to truly capturing the magic is not in the number of photos taken but in the ability to capture a moment that tells a story and freezes emotion. This is not about capturing a perfect picture, but rather capturing a feeling.

This might be obvious but if you want to be ready for any moment you’ll want to keep your camera or phone close by so that you can grab it on a whim. If you have to go hunting for some way to capture the moment it will likely be over by the time you’re ready.

Children are acutely aware of a parent watching (especially if there is a camera in hand) and it may alter their behavior if they feel watched. Learning to observe quietly can lead to the most genuine captures. Allow yourself to come out of the parental mode and just become an observer. It’s in these moments of observation, as our children explore, play, and simply be, that we find the most authentic expressions of their personalities. Their uninhibited joy, focused concentration, or bursts of laughter are the real treasures waiting to be captured.

Don’t underestimate natural light in your images. It can transform a simple photograph into a memory filled with emotion and atmosphere. The soft glow of early morning or the golden rays of late afternoon can add a layer of warmth and authenticity to your photos, allowing you to FEEL the moments you are capturing.

With this in mind, remember what truly makes these photos special is the emotion it captures. Again, the goal is not to achieve perfection in the traditional sense but to preserve a feeling… a fleeting moment. Whether it’s a laugh, a cry, or a quiet moment of reflection, these are the moments that become our most treasured possessions. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are memories that are attached to photographs that my mother took. It somehow keeps that memory alive.

In the end, you’re not trying to fill albums with perfectly posed portraits but to weave together moments that transport us to the very instant they were captured. It’s about holding onto the raw, unfiltered essence of childhood and the love that defines parenthood. So keep your lens ready, your heart open, and your eyes peeled for those everyday miracles that unfold in the most ordinary of moments.

Download my “Guide to Preserving the Magic of Childhood” where I deep dive into the practical steps you can take to capture beautiful and meaningful pictures right at home! This guide is filled with real life examples of photos I took on my phone of my own children!

Alissa Saylor is an award winning lifestyle and portrait photographer in west Michigan specializing in intimate motherhood, family, baby, maternity, and newborn photography. 

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